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Story of two grandmothers – Choosing to live life on their own terms!

This is a story of a mother and a mother-in-law approaching their 80s. Both born in  middle class Maharashtrian families and brought up in the interiors – one in Maharashtra and the other in a border town along Karnataka and Maharashtra. Both love to watch TV, cook and pamper their grandchildren. Both have a steely determination and have come a long way battling whatever life has thrown at them. However, they are a study in contrast.Yolo – You live Only Once has its own meaning to both.

One is an accomplished writer (she took to writing short stories since college), while the other prefers to read. If one enjoys taking the car for a spin driving to nearby locales or Sunday outings for a lazy brunch, the other is self taught, homemaker and needs the driver to be available to step out, else is more than happy to stay indoors the whole day being left alone to watch her TV serials, read short stories, solve crosswords. 

On digging deeper you realise there’s more than just this to their contrasting personalities. Mother in law’s was an arranged marriage, she’s a caring homemaker, committed to raising a family of 7 ( in-laws + 3 kids) on single income with simple living preferring a traditional bhat, baji, aamti, poli for lunch and dinner. On a lighter note, she’s the ideal candidate for the title of “perfect serial killer” as she binge watches min. 3-4 serials a day on her favourite regional channels. She prefers sticking to a routine. Given a choice between trying new things or places and continuing with the routine, she will prefer the latter. Although not much of an extrovert,  she is happy to invite guests or play host to visitors dropping in. Besides TV, entertainment for her consists of playing rummy with her cards group. But don’t get fooled by her mild demeanor, she is gritty. Whenever she plays cards, she plays to win. She is very good at carrom & sure to ace any board game she’s introduced to. A dream holiday for her is an outstation trip to the hills with her rummy group.

Against this, the mother, although just a few years younger, is modern and adventurous, an author, a world traveller grandparent with a view and opinion on happenings around the world. Always on the move – she enjoys her independence, flexibility and exploring new things- be it places or cuisines at fine dining restaurants. She is a people’s person, as she likes to socialise, making it a point to keep in touch with friends and extended family circle. Having been born and brought up in the interiors, she moved to the city post schooling, to study at college. At college, her active participation in the marathi literary club led to her meeting her life partner. The love story had a happy ending leading to marriage at a tender age of 18 yrs. As she became a homemaker, which for her, involved moving cities with her husband and raising 2 kids, she continued to write short stories for various regional publications. She’s always been a busy bee, wanting to be in the thick of things. Her heart beats for the lesser privileged and she has been actively associated with groups fighting for the cause of the lesser privileged. She was an activist in the mill trade union movement, participating in gate meetings or even at times driving a matador tempo. She then found her calling with the feminist movement as she completed her Masters overseas. Further she became a professor of women’s studies, took a sabbatical to complete her PhD around her golden birthday, even as she took on the mantle of becoming a mother in law! Socialising for her means inviting friends at home for dinner, entertainment includes watching international TV shows, plays, movies at film festivals.

One thing common between the two, like any grandparents, is their pampering of the grandchildren. Both know that the way to their grandchildren’s heart is through their stomach. One woos them with traditional maharashtrian items like dadpey pohey, metkut bhat, pithla, ukad, sanja, shudh ghee laadu, dudhi chi kheer. The other tried to impress them in their early years, by taking them swimming, to parks & their favourite eateries. Now that the kids have grown up, she  lays out special english breakfast feast with omelette, bacon and hash browns followed by cappuccino on Sundays, serving frankie, mutton kheema pav or hot salads for dinner or occasional pairing of wine n cheese and dishing out signature desserts like trifle pudding, bhapa dohi. As you can see, the grandkids have been the luckiest to have got the best of both worlds from the doting grandmothers. During their pre-teen, the grandmothers got together to even organise a trip for their grandkids, to the ancestral village with just the four grandparents. For them it’s not one over the other as they love both their grandmothers unconditionally.

Since how you live and adapt to what life throws at you, is a matter of your choice, the pandemic has had very different outcomes on both – one is quite content as long as she’s been able to continue with her TV & cards routine. In spite of being digitally challenged, her urge to read the newspaper made her explore reading it on the laptop during lockdowns. While for the other with mobility being restricted, it’s been a bit suffocating. To overcome a sense of helplessness and despair, she has been reaching out to keep in touch as well as look after friends who have not been keeping well. She has also taken to becoming a digital immigrant actively participating in online webinars, joining zoom connect meets, exploring web series on Netflix and learnt to order on Swiggy to be able to keep up with having different cuisines for dinner.  Come what may, both are determined to  continue to cherish their independence to make the most of life on their own contrasting terms. Here’s wishing them a long and healthy life. Cheers !

Acknowledgements- My friend Ashish Parulekar and Sheetal Nagle for being a solid member of my blog support team.
P.S You may like to check out my another blog – My daughter calls my parents unconventional grandparents ; To read my Musings on Cricketing / Corporate Tales, Start up stories, Covid Times, Friends, Family and Marriages, Travel, Movie reviews go to the Home Page

Published by Salil Datar

Eager beaver , enthusiastic but amateur blogger !!

2 thoughts on “Story of two grandmothers – Choosing to live life on their own terms!

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